A Beginners Coffee Kit
Every coffee lover ought to have a basic coffee kit or coffee setup. These are the essential pieces of equipment for brewing specialty coffee on a regular basis. They are not everything you may want, but they are everything you need to get started on the journey towards better coffee.
So what are the fundamental pieces of a coffee kit?
If you are wanting to up your coffee game, you should invest in a decent burr coffee grinder. Grinding your own coffee beans has some huge advantages. Firstly, using whole beans improves the flavor of your coffee. Coffee is considered to be a form of fresh produce, aka it goes bad over time. In fact ground coffee goes stale within 3-5 minutes of grinding. Using whole beans and grinding immediately before brewing helps preserve the aromatics and flavors of coffee beans. Secondly, having a grinder allows you to adjust your grind size according to your brewing method. When it comes to coffee grind sizes, one size does not fit all! A quality burr coffee grinder allows you to experiment to find the perfect grind size for your chosen brewing method.
The second piece of equipment you ought to consider investing in is some coffee scales. If you are wanting to brew consistently it pays to be measuring your coffee by weight rather than just eyeballing it. This allows you to keep the quantity of coffee consistent each time, while altering other things like grind size and brew time to tweak your coffee recipe. If you want to go places with coffee then a set of coffee scales is non-negotiable.
Of course, a scale and a grinder are useless if they are not accompanied by a coffee maker to actually brew the coffee. In terms of beginners kit there are plenty of very affordable options such as a French Press or the Aeropress. There are as many types of coffee makers as there are coffee lovers, so your options are all but limitless. Espresso machines are a popular option but they are more expensive to purchase than manual coffee brewers.
The next two pieces of kit are non-essential but helpful.
A coffee canister is a usually airtight container to store your coffee beans in. The advantages of this are both aesthetic and functional. A good coffee canister is a statement piece on any benchtop. Similarly, an airtight canister helps your beans to remain fresh for longer resulting in more flavoursome coffee.
If you love milk based drinks like lattes and cappuccinos, then a milk frother is an essential piece of coffee kit. An electric milk frother is a handy piece of coffee gear that tends to be relatively affordable. They work by spinning the milk quickly to add air into it and create a dense, smooth foam. They generally take anywhere from 20-90 seconds to froth milk. See The Coffee Folk for a guide to the best milk frothers.
So these are the essential items for a beginners coffee kit. They are all items that can be purchased at a relatively affordable price (or for a very unaffordable price!). But if you have the first three pieces of kit at least you are set up and good to go!